Triangle Regional Resiliency Partnership

Overview

Resilient communities are defined by their ability to bounce back from acute disasters or long-term stressors by actively influencing and preparing for economic, social and environmental change. The Triangle Region faces many changing social, economic, and environmental conditions. Being able to understand how these changing conditions could impact our abilities to bounce back after natural or manmade shocks to the system is key to keeping our region vibrant and productive. 

 

The Triangle Regional Resiliency Partnership provides a venue for municipalities and counties to jointly develop, organize, and prioritize strategies that will build community and regional resilience. In doing so, each community and the region as a whole will be better able to provide services and infrastructure in the face of acute and long term stressors such as demographic shifts, explosive population growth, critical infrastructure failure, increased frequency of intense storm events, drought, and more days of extreme heat and cold.

 

What does the Partnership do?

The Triangle Regional Resiliency Partnership is a joint project currently made up of the Town of Cary, Town of Chapel Hill, City of Durham, City of Raleigh, Durham County, and Orange County. TJCOG provides administrative oversight and facilitates discussions among the partners. By working together to understand and mitigate the potential impact of stressors, we can be better prepared to continue they high quality of life that makes this region so attractive.

 

The first project of the Partnership is to create a regional resiliency assessment. The National Environmental Modelling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) is providing a scalable assessment of the asset/threat pairs in the region through GIS mapping, data analysis, and environmental modelling. Prior projects such as Hazard Mitigation plans, Comprehensive plans, and Mutual Aid Agreements, etc. are being used in this process and will be supplemented with NEMAC’s resources and experience to produce a full assessment of the region’s resiliency. This assessment will then be followed by prioritized recommendations at the parcel level that seek to enhance the resiliency of the region.

While Hazard Mitigation Plans already exist in all these communities, the analysis of the different threats to individual community assets is virtually nonexistent outside of the most critical infrastructure assets. This type of assessment will provide invaluable information that could be applied to the member municipality’s comprehensive plans, land use ordinances, hazard mitigation plans, etc.

 

The Assessment Process

Phase 1:

This process required a complete assessment of climate-related threats, including drought, heavy precipitation events, heat waves, and others. The assessment will utilize resources that include data from the National Climate Assessment North Carolina State Summary, the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit and associated Climate Explorer (including climate projections), and data from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information’s Climate-at-a-Glance, as well as other accredited sources. In order to complete this assessment, NEMAC will collaborate with GIS staff from the TJCOG and/or staff from the participating local governments to create an exhaustive data inventory.

 

Phase 2:

The second phase of the process involves an analysis of key regional and local community assets so that they can be included in an assessment of vulnerability and risk. This asset analysis will use socioeconomic datasets from local, regional, and statewide sources, and will draw from the local comprehensive, sustainability, and hazard mitigation plans shared with NEMAC during phase one.

 

Phase 3:

The third phase of the process involves using the climate-related threats and community assets (or “asset/threat pairs”) from the previous two phases to develop a vulnerability and risk assessment. The first part of the assessment requires participants to identify the criteria for sensitivity (or “the degree to which a system, population, or resource is affected by climate impacts and the criteria for adaptive capacity along with critical thresholds (or tipping points) for the asset/threat pairs.

 

Phase 4:

The fourth phase of this process involves identifying options that build resilience to climate-related threats. These options would accomplish this by reducing vulnerability, reducing risk, or supporting response and recovery efforts in the event that a threat or hazard occurs. Options will target the most vulnerable areas identified in Phase three by either (i) reducing exposure, or (ii) increasing adaptive capacity. After options have been identified, they will be prioritized based on how much they reduce vulnerability and risk, their ability to be implemented, and other criteria established by participants.

 

Phase 5: 

The fifth phase of this contract is the development of a Regional Resilience Assessment report. It will include all associated maps, graphs, statistics, and decisions made during earlier phases. The assessment will be formatted so that recommendations and options are easily transferable into other frameworks, such as comprehensive plans or hazard mitigation plans.

 

Phase 6: 

The last phase of this project is to deliver all relevant GIS and spatial data developed during this project as digital files. Phases one and two are supported by a data-driven process and database to support the assessment. This last phase allows for this data to become readily available to project participants and provides transparent documentation of data sources, methodology, and metadata.

 

For more information, please contact Jen Schmitz, Principal Planner at 919-558-9342, or jschmitz@tjcog.org.